Huskers to play with integrity

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF QUEZON HUSKERS JERIC Teng serves as the backbone of the Quezon Huskers in the OKBet-MPBL wars.

The Quezon Huskers were given a special marching order prior to assembling the squad that is now competing in the OKBet-Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League: Play with integrity.

In an episode of The Athletes Tribune late Monday, Huskers team manager Donn Rico Kapunan bared that while their goal is to be competitive, they will do it without sacrificing the integrity of the game.

He said that basketball had given them so much that they want to repay it by playing the game the right way and not getting involved in any controversy like match-fixing or point-shaving.

The Huskers are coming off an impressive 82-80 victory over the Negros Muscovados during the league’s opener at the Quezon Convention Center last Saturday.

The Huskers trailed in the early part of the game, but found a way to fight back, sending the jampacked crowd that included Quezon Province Governor Helen Tan, MPBL founder Manny Pacquiao and MPBL commissioner Kenneth Duremdes into a frenzy.

Former University of Santo Tomas star Jeric Teng delivered the key baskets while former De La Salle University sniper Thomas Torres provided the leadership in the crucial stretch for the Huskers, who were missing the services of big men Will Gozum and Ken Holmqvist.

Kapunan said the most important thing was that they played with energy, pride and integrity.

“The marching order from the LGU (local government unit) is to play with integrity,” Kapunan told host Nikki Viola, who used to be part of the broadcast team of the MPBL.

“This game has given us so much and it’s time to give back to the game, to the fans, and we would like to do this in a way that transcends the bad things that happened in other leagues.”

Scandals are nothing new at the regional level.

Three years ago, the MPBL suspended two players for alleged game-fixing issue. But the controversy that had been simmering underneath blew out the following year when the Department of Justice found probable cause against 17 individuals who were found to be involved in match-fixing scandal.

Pacquiao said money exchanged hands with those involved receiving P20,000 to P50,000 commission in every fixed game.

Kapunan vowed that they will not allow themselves to get involved in this controversy.

“As you all know, there are game-fixing issues that teams are facing. I made it clear that we don’t want that,” said Kapunan, who manages the team owned by Quezon Rep. Keith Micah Tan and San Andres, Quezon Mayor Ralph Edward Lim.

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